Attractions in New York City: Must-Visit Landmarks and Museums
Top 5 Attractions in New York City
Smack-dab in the middle of Museum Mile, this ultra-cool design museum is a must-visit. Take a selfie with its courtyard or explore its array of uber-cool exhibits.
Tour this massive complex of 19 buildings to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of NYC’s most famous corporations. Don’t miss the cavernous main concourse, with its elaborate astronomical ceiling decorations.
Statue of Liberty
Located in New York City, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most popular landmarks and tourist attractions. It was created by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi to commemorate the American Revolution and a century of friendship between the United States and France.
The statue was designed as a symbol of hope and freedom and stood as the gateway for millions of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island. It was dedicated on June 28, 1886, and became a national monument in 1924. Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island in 1956, and the crown was opened to the public in 2009.
It is best to visit the statue during the daytime to avoid long lines. Guests who wish to climb the crown must reserve tickets online weeks in advance.
Ellis Island is an inspiring sight, symbolizing freedom and hope. In fact, over 40 percent of Americans have an ancestor who passed through this historic site. The Ellis Island National Immigration Museum brings these voyages to life through a vast collection of artifacts. It also features interactive exhibits and a searchable database for those with family history connections.
This is a large complex with many things to see, so plan on spending a few hours there. The Ellis Island Memorial and Wall of Honor are located in the Main Building, while the rest of the site, including a 1930s ferry terminal, hospital, morgue, and contagious disease wards, can be explored on a guided tour. The tour is free and available in American Sign Language.
New York City Library
The New York City Library is one of the most significant buildings in the city, not only because of its massive collection of books, but also for its rich history. The main branch has a special significance to researchers, scholars, and lovers of the arts.
The first thing you’ll notice is the grand staircase in Astor Hall, named after philanthropist John Jacob Astor. Then, you’ll see the two stone lions guarding the entrance. Originally named Leo Astor and Lionel Lenox, the lions were renamed Patience and Fortitude in the 1930s by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia because he felt those were the qualities New Yorkers needed to survive.
You can explore the NYC library on your own or take a tour. The building tours last one hour and cover the highlights of the Beaux-Arts architecture.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most famous Catholic churches in the world. Located on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets and 5th and Madison Avenues in Midtown Manhattan, the church has become an international landmark with more than 5 million visitors each year.
The church’s Neo-Gothic style makes it stand out from the surrounding skyscrapers. Its high altar features a gold canopy known as the baldachino and a sculpture of Pieta, three times larger than Michelangelo’s version in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
The cathedral has recently undergone renovations and restored many historic details with a careful eye to Renwick’s original design intentions. Visits to the church are free, but be sure to check their schedule for special Masses and holidays before you go.
Museum of Natural History
Over five million visitors a year flock to the Museum of Natural History, one of the world’s largest natural history museums. It covers every aspect of earth and space science and even anthropology. With 42 permanent and several temporary exhibits, it’s impossible to see everything in just one day.
Some of the highlights are the bright and airy Fossil Halls featuring mammoth crowd-pleasers such as a gargantuan Apatosaurus frozen in mid-prowl with kitchen knife-sized teeth and a fearsome Triceratops. The Rose Center for Earth and Space is also a highlight with a grand glass cube and the equally impressive Hayden Planetarium.
Kids will love the Madagascar Journey and Ocean Life Galleries and adults can admire the only preserved dodo bird skeleton on display anywhere. You can also see the 63ft carved canoe of different Native American peoples and a huge collection of anthropological objects.